November 30th day of action against cuts and fees

November 30th day of action against cuts and fees

Tens of thousands of students will walk out of class for the third time in as many weeks today during a national day of action against cuts and tuition fees.

Protests last week erupted into occupations at around fifteen universities across the UK, with reports of as much as 35 universities and colleges having been in occupation over the past couple of weeks. We expect to see even more occupations begin as a result of today's day of action.

Reports have also come out over the past week of police brutality against demonstrators, including horse charges and 'toxic fire extinguisher' spray against kettled protesters in Whitehall, mounted police charging demonstrators in Manchester, and riot police attacking protesters at Lewisham Town Hall yesterday evening, including pushing students down stairs.

We will update this page regularly as the day develops. Please post local reports in the comments below.

11:53am - via Facebook

"15 students have moved into occupation of the Tory offices in Aberdeen in attempt to shut down operations for the day. Police quickly arrived on the scene and the protest continues, it is believed the protesters will be moved off the premises soon, but the office will be closed for ...the day."

11:56am via @LeedsStudent "One person already arrested", "Police containing protestors". http://twitpic.com/3bl0ld

12:06pm - Wayne in comments says:

Just back from our wee morning picket at Uni of Glos. The response to the banner and fliers was easily the best I've experienced in Cheltenham and a lot of students said they were planning to join the protest (which here is on the 8th December for some reason). Security were summoned to remove our banner on order of the campus manager; they were quite apologetic about it but I think their jobs are very vulnerable just now. All in all, it was a bit lame but we shifted our leaflets and got a decent response from colleagues and from the students.

12:07pm - Sheffield uni demo subject to section 14 order. Cops attempting to limit demo outside Clegg's constituency office to 100 people.

Leeds marchers being kettled with cops in front and vans behind, first arrest of the day after an early scuffle.

12:18pm - Great Hall, Trent Building, University of Nottingham has been occupied (via twitter)

12:21pm - BBC News just reported protesters in Trafalgar Sq. have legged it down Whitehall an hour earlier than planned, presumably to avoid getting kettled.

- more on this from http://lsjsn.wordpress.com/:

Around 500 college students just charged down Whitehall from Trafalgar Square only to be met by a wall of police.

The police had been hidden down a side street and emerged as they saw the protesters charging.

The protesters then returned to Trafalgar Square and were last reported to be heading toward Buckingham Palace.

One observer remarked on the incident as being: “Very French revolution.”

Few University of London students are currently at Trafalgar Square, although a delegation from Queen Mary has been seen and student from UCL and SOAS are en route.

Protesters have split into two groups. One group are still at Whitehall, and one have headed into St James Park.

Riot Police have been scene following the St James Park crowd and are expected to attempt to kettle them in.

Reports that other protesters have made it to Parliament Square are also coming in.

12:32pm - "King's College London have occupied against the coalition's proposed rise in student fees and cuts to EMA. We have taken a lovely lecture theatre and are sitting peacefully through a very long maths lecture so as not to disrupt anyone's education. Join us!"

1:30pm - Rob Ray in comments posts:

Bristol: Police have sent in the horses and are chasing protesters with them.

London: Snowballs flying, apparently hitting a couple of the Fit. Picadilly and Regent Street apparently brought to a standstill?

Liverpool: Attempt at kettling from police, some shoving but nothing major? Mostly at a standstill, smaller numbers than last time. However, uni roof has just been occupied for a banner drop.

Also worryingly there's a report that troops are being brought in as backup for the cops, in blue baseball caps - though that may just be rumours...

1.34pm - School students protesting outside Birmingham council offices: http://twitpic.com/3blu08

1.40pm - That Birmingham council office protest has turned into an occupation of 60 people!

1.41pm - protesters in London are spread out all over the place, largely evading police attempts at kettling with a few exceptions, first reports of brutality from @UCLOccupation of people being rugby tackled into railings. Huge police lines in some areas but those areas are being avoided for obvious reasons.

1.42pm - 1,000 protesters outside Nick Clegg's office in Sheffield.

2.42pm - Slade school of art occupied. Cat and mouse continues in London, appears to be some convergence of both police and protesters at Trafalgar Square.

2.58pm
- Kettling at Trafalgar Square has begun, police horses are there, not letting anyone out.
- student interviewed at Birmingham says they'll stay there as long as possible.
- Occupation of majorie arnold an ziff building on leeds uni campus. Staff being evacuated now.
- "Occupation of majorie arnold an ziff building on leeds uni campus. Staff being evacuated now."
- @edactivistnet - Students have occupied part of Queens University in support of free education. #demo2010 #dayx2"

3.12pm
- Oxfordshire Council offices invaded a few minutes ago: http://twitpic.com/3bmp2i; Protestors in Oxford, mainly secondary school students, have occupied County Hall. Some have made their way onto the roof.
- Liverpool : march banned but people broke through. Road and rooftop sitins. Police kettling now in Liverpool.

3.17pm - Sheffield University occupied.

3.26pm - Riot police in Trafalgar Square, eight police vans. Kettling in operation.

3.40pm - Trafalgar Square kettle broken (though reports say not much of a kettle, with small groups being allowed out). Fireworks let off.

3.58pm - Students are occupying at Kingston University.

4.11pm
- Students have taken the multi-storey car park at Hove Town Hall.
- Protesters occupy Lloyds Bank in Cardiff.
- 400 people occupying lecture theatre at Manchester University.
- Students in Sheffield occupy university library.

4.30pm - reports of police in Brighton using tasers against protesting schoolkids. As yet unconfirmed.

5.50pm - Birmingham Council occupation has ended with a march around the city.

See also:
- Follow the #dayx2 hashtag on twitter
- Find your local anti-cuts group and event on anticuts.org.uk
- Read our coverage of resistance to austerity in the UK

Comments

Ed
Dec 1 2010 09:08

This video from the Guardian actually made for really interesting watching!

Particularly the random dude in his car who starts talking about the proletariat!

posi
Dec 1 2010 09:14

Would people agree that yesterday was generally smaller than a week ago?

Due to weather? Better organised school lock-ins? There's a need to find something new?

Auto
Dec 1 2010 09:33
posi wrote:
Would people agree that yesterday was generally smaller than a week ago?

Due to weather? Better organised school lock-ins? There's a need to find something new?

I think the London one was smaller, but I don't know about elsewhere (the Oxford one was pretty big relative to the size of the city). I think a lot of it could have been snow (especially for those travelling in to a protest from a distance). I don't think that there's been a flagging of energy though, as all the previously apolitical kids are still heavily involved (and you're not being left with a rump of politicos, which is what I'd expect if things were dying off).

All in all, I think that even though it was perhaps smaller than previous demos, they were perhaps more effective as a learning process.

Although as I was sadly at work yesterday, this is all just conjecture on my part.

ernie
Dec 1 2010 09:48

He was very good. Also the young guy at the very end talking about workers and students together. Also interesting to see the guy whose 14 year old had been kettled last week for 7 hours joining the demo.. How many other parents joined in because of the kettling last week.
Meet what must have been one of the youngest protesters yesterday: a beautiful 7 week old girl: Ursula. Mum felt it wold be safer down here than London.

ernie
Dec 1 2010 09:58

I think that there is probably a ebb and flow in different parts of the country. Speaking to a comrade in the Midlands last nigh, he felt that things were just starting to get going there. Whilst down here there was less people. But this is probably the way things will be. Xmas is going to make a big difference. What happens after will be interesting
Posi may have touched another element as well: the feeling of the need for something new, what next.

slothjabber
Dec 1 2010 11:28

EDIT: just to make it clear I'm not the comrade from the Midlands that Ernie is referring to.

Well, where I am, things are pretty odd; no demo at my uni yesterday, they're demonstrating today at the residential campus. I say 'they' as I don't live there, I'm in town, and the halls are out in the 'burbs. There's no opportunity to occupy anything / EDIT - apparently there's a plan to 'visit' the local MP's offices - how friendly they'll be is as yet unknown - END EDIT / and no perspective of linking up with other people angry about the cuts. It's totally isolated both from the town, and also from the sizable number of students who don't live in halls. Oh, and the protest has been organised by the NUS.

The other uni in town (which is more central to town and also more centralised in terms of where the students actually live) is also quiet. I tried to find anything happening yesterday and give out some leaflets but there seemed to be little interest. No-one seemed to know it was a national day of action. Even the ubiquitous Socialist Students and Socialist Workers posses that hang out near the Student Union had disappeared, possibly to go to real actions in more exciting cities.

Mike Harman
Dec 1 2010 10:32

Bailiffs apparently moving in on the UCL Occupation right now. And their twitter account has been hacked (or somewhat hacked). http://twitter.com/#!/uclocc

Auto
Dec 1 2010 10:50

Does anyone have any confirmation of the bailiffs at UCL? Twitter is filled with messages saying that the bailiffs are there as well as that it's a false alarm.

Mike Harman
Dec 1 2010 10:54

There was a false alarm last night, but this appears to be a fresh one. @littlemisswilde has been doing a lot of the tweaking, unless her account has been hacked as well then that's probably as authoritative as it gets.

Auto
Dec 1 2010 11:22

"@uweagainstcuts we've been told we have to leave... Seems safe for now."

Incubus
Dec 1 2010 11:48

Watching the demo's on the TV news channels from my flu-ridden bed, I had quite a few chuckles at the states expense, seeing the old bill playing catch-up on Horse Guards Parade, and hearing one student chanting 'bourgeoisie TV' at a Sky reporter was most excellent-that and the fact that a number of the press got a bit of a chastising from those ketteled...(And quite right too, because the blatant, casual assaults by cops on the students-punches in the face, shield abuse-was passed over by the journo-scum). The fact that there were lower numbers yesterday is made up for by self-evident ability of the student movement to rapidly change tactics to avoid repression-The Police being given the run-around for very many hours was and is heartening to an old @ who helped pioneer those tactics on Stop the City demos in the early eighties...

princess mob
Dec 1 2010 12:15

Bristol was possibly bigger than last week - if you go by Facebook, 700 or so more people had rsvped (including Avon & Somerset Police). 2,000 was one report, it could have been more. A higher proportion of school & college students, including kid in a balaclava who looked about 12. At least one school who had been locked in by teachers last week were out this week. As in Brighton, anarchists were handing out legal info / bust cards.

There was heaps of energy - the march moved quickly in ever widening circles for over 3 straight hours, keeping out of the way of police & occasionally breaking through lines. (Though not the line guarding the M32.) This caused traffic chaos which in turn helped stop the police from being able to move their vans around to contain the demo.

We went through Cabot Circus & the mall a few times & stopped for a quick break in the middle of the shopping area - I think partly on the assumption that it was a safe place to stop because they wouldn't want to kettle a rowdy crowd in the middle of a bunch of expensive shops.

There was a brief attempt to get into a Vodafone shop. Police got pelted with mustard from the German Christmas markets. There were a couple of pretty half-arsed attempts to occupy the council house & the administrative centre of the University of Bristol. Snowballs were thrown at cops & at horses (who really don't like them).

The march got kettled up in Bristol Uni at the end, though a good portion saw it coming & got out before it formed, more jumped out through hedges & some got out with a rope, as reported above.

Police did cavalry style horse charges into a loose crowd outside the kettle - it really looked like someone could have been hurt. A couple of people were beaten by police around the edges of the kettle. There were 10 arrests, mostly towards the end when people were trying to break out of/avoid kettling, I think mostly of college students.

Oh, & the head of Avon & Somerset police was quoted in the press asking for someone to step forward & be the leader of all these protests.

Rob Ray
Dec 1 2010 12:40

Just checking, there's not much on the sky blue caps online, couple of football firm types refer to them as being part of the "heavy squad aka the bastards" while on the police specials forum they're suggesting it might be part of a "no tin lids" initiative to try and humanise the coppers - suggests it's not an official designation either way.

Pic of "luscious" Oxford Tory Keith Mitchell:


"I'm not a paedo"

Choccy
Dec 1 2010 12:46

Our school sent letter home to parents saying if kids were going to go on protests to keep them at home as they wouldn't be allowed out of school once they were in.
A change from last week which said they could go if they had a parental letter.

Incubus
Dec 1 2010 13:27

Interesting to note that yesterday Ch.4 tv news reported protesters using 'flying wedge' formations on police line weak spots to break out of kettle - admirable tactical sophistication- (there was footage of this)

Re: Sky blue caps- I think these are being worn only by PSU's like the TSG in London (so the Commanders on the ground can easily recognise them, as the heavy mob when in 'soft tops')- and they seem to now have a policy taken from the army, in any given situation, they drop the NATO helmets for the caps to appear 'less threatening'. Merely a psychological tactic to manipulate the crowd mood....

Incubus
Dec 1 2010 13:33

Also London riot cops have new colour coded NATO helmets denoting serial commanders, sargeants, first aiders etc. Any one out there know which is which?

Last week spoke to a big bastard TSG cop who told me (after a few provocative questions on the collapsing economy) that they were being aided in civil unrest training by a computer simulation program called something like c-net...any info on this anyone?

Samotnaf
Dec 1 2010 13:52

Auto:

Quote:
the occupation of Slade Art School (part of the UCL - so that's two autonomous occupations in the same university) is made up of both students AND staff.

What is/was the social composition of this occupying staff - professors, canteen staff, cleaners,or who....?

Plus the statement from Slade Art School - defending both the arts and the sciences as they exist in this society, ie as separate specialisms, is crap, and indicative of some aspects of the limits of the perspectives of this movement (ok - it's early days yet, and such a critique could develop but that's not an excuse not to start now). The fact that this surprising movement is moving and surprising (it's certainly helped to cheer me, and hundreds of thousands of others, up) shouldn't be a reason for suspending critical faculties when it comes to looking at the function of education as it exists, regardless of how open to the children of the working class or not it is.

In fact, the changes towards a more obviously elitist culture is going to fuck up the rulers' abilities to recuperate social critique - so maybe we should welcome them (said provocatively, not really seriously)....

Mike Harman
Dec 1 2010 14:07
Quote:
The fact that this surprising movement is moving and surprising (it's certainly helped to cheer me, and hundreds of thousands). of others, up) shouldn't be a reason for suspending critical faculties when it comes to looking at the function of education as it exists, regardless of how open to the children of the working class or not it is.

Can't remember where I saw it, may have been a UCL Occupation video (the JBR one, not the Slade one), but people are definitely talking about this, there's also a gradual focus towards the university management as well as the government, which has been slightly more to the fore this week.

On the other hand most of the refreshing stuff that's not university occupations is from school and college students now, and this is on the fundamental level of "don't fuck with our £30 week EMA", which isn't defending education at all, but the social wage. Not that the whole benefits system (and EMA itself, there's a strong disciplinary aspect to it as borne out by the fact that people skipping lessons to go on protests will lose the whole week's money due to absence/truancy) shouldn't be looked at critically. But it's a different demand, one that the media is consistently ignoring, and much closer to the attacks on benefits that are affecting other groups of workers.

In other news, someone just made a facebook group for a national day of protest against welfare and housing benefit cuts, early days yet but looks like they want to organise something before Christmas alongside one of the other weekday protests - http://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Day-of-Protest-Against-Welfare-Housing-Benefit-Cuts/106945382710717?v=wall

Mike Harman
Dec 1 2010 14:58
Quote:
Students from the Occupation at Newcastle University are currently in the newly built Kings Gate building peacefully demonstrating. This is in response to the Vice Chancellors refusal to meet with the members of the Occupation to discuss our demands. The protesters are laid on the floor in the entrance of the building with their mouths taped up, symbolizing the frustration and anger we feel at being excluded from talks about the impact that cuts to higher education will have on Newcastle University and the country.

http://ncluniocc.blogspot.com/2010/12/current-action-at-newcastle-university.html

mons
Dec 1 2010 16:08

Samotnaf:
I agree it's important to not suspend our critique of education as a whole, just because we're defending our social wage, including education, at the moment.

In the Oxford occupation last week, there was quite a lot of critique of education as stifling and aimed towards profit, as well as the strict hierarchy between student/teacher. Even joint student-worker control was mentioned, and got support. There have been quite a lot of 'free university' sessions, often on things like 'what is education / a university?' which have basically involved everybody having a go at education as a whole. Most people were critical of the idea of education as a 'right', and it was rejected from being part of our occupation statement.

I'd be very interested to know to what extent similar ideas are floating about other places?

Incubus
Dec 1 2010 16:19

You might be interested in this- campaignforthepublicuniversity.org.uk -Flyer was handed to me at the mainly leftist Coalition of Resistance conference..."Seeking to defend and promote the idea of the university as a public good"..

Anyone have more info on the assemblies held in the occupied uni's? Are they open? Clique dominated?

Mike Harman
Dec 1 2010 16:27

York uni 'physics exhibition space' was occupied just now according to twitter. No details yet afaik.

Samotnaf
Dec 1 2010 16:34

Mike H, mons - thanks for the info; I'm showing my ignorance obviously - partly due to the fact that my computer's fucked and have to rely on my kid's one, and she's usually on it if she's at home. So I'm looking at all this pretty much in a rush and so very superficially.

princessmob:

Quote:
the head of Avon & Somerset police was quoted in the press asking for someone to step forward & be the leader of all these protests.

In a fairly short-lived occupation of a dole office I was involved in here in the South of France, the manager asked who the leader was, and after a slight pause, one guy said, "I am Spartacus", followed by everyone repeating "I am Spartacus". How did the demonstrators react to the head cop in the demo mentioned?

princess mob
Dec 1 2010 17:08
Samotnaf wrote:
princessmob:
Quote:
the head of Avon & Somerset police was quoted in the press asking for someone to step forward & be the leader of all these protests.

In a fairly short-lived occupation of a dole office I was involved in here in the South of France, the manager asked who the leader was, and after a slight pause, one guy said, "I am Spartacus", followed by everyone repeating "I am Spartacus". How did the demonstrators react to the head cop in the demo mentioned?

I don't think the cops even tried to ask during the actual demo - I didn't see them try it. I think the response probably would have been something like that. I was actually referring to a quote in the local paper:

Quote:
Mr Jackson called for someone from the student body to come forward so they could better co-ordinate what he referred to as a "leaderless protest".

It will be interesting to see if anyone tries. I don't think they'll be able to, though maybe I'm overly optimistic.

Incubus
Dec 1 2010 18:12
Caiman del Barrio
Dec 1 2010 20:24

London was a strange day in which not being kettled moved from being a means to an end in itself. Mind you, the maturity and development of the young (not ENTIRELY) student protestors is to be heralded, especially considering how the ever-mobile anarchist 'movement' hadn't cracked the kettle problem in almost 10 years.

The shambles of the whole event had their good and bad points. Despite it being a London demo, the demonstrators' geography was terrible, and successive attempts to reach the Lib Dem HQ (apparently!) were thwarted. We wandered through backstreet markets, hidden squares of upmarket restuarants in the City, and took in all of the sights of central London's shopping district, without ever really finding our goal.

On the upside, a number of rearguard actions by the 'leaders' to control the various groups were as flat as their politics: Da Yoot do not respond well to well-spoken, badly-dressed students shouting "LISTEN GUYYYS, THE ORDERS ARE AS FOLLOWS". I confronted the trenchcoat idiot in question over this, and he claimed to be The Leader aka The Organiser, only for a (presumably famous, since he was at the front with an air of authority and entitement, as a well a hi vis) comrade of his to step in and say, somewhat melancholically, "no, there are no leaders here. This is...spontaneous". Don't believe their current media line of not beign kettled being the original intention of this demo, since they themselves were also intent on enforcing the kettle, calling on demonstrators to "STOP RUNNING!" innumerable times, usually whenever the hilariously out of shape and burdened down TSG motherfuckers flanking us started to jog as a means of cutting inside in front of us. Their shouts were Canut-esque though, and at one point, a guy almost knocked over shouting his inanities by all the hundreds careering past him.

I'm glad there's a "What Next?" thread already up though. I think students need to start coordinating strategies to move beyond the demonstration setpiece and think of ways to disrupt the HE economy.

Ellar
Dec 1 2010 20:38

The day of the parliament votes on tuition fees has been announced for the 9th and facebook pages have already been set up calling for national action. Spread the word I suppose.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=136567579732280
http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=173878782641548

Auto
Dec 1 2010 23:05

The 'main event' 9th Dec group is already gaining members at a dizzying rate (almost 2,000 already) I think it's going to hit [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_mass_(sociodynamics)]critical mass[/url]

An interesting thing I've noticed on Facebook with regard to the movement. There's a kind of 'democracy without votes' that's been going on. Both of the 'Weekend Action' groups were growing, but very very slowly (even the NCAFC group which only had 4k members, so it's not merely a larger number of contacts that's at work). Yet as soon as an event pops up that really catches the moods/desire of the larger group involved - boom. We're off to the races.

I think it's one of the reasons that political groups have found it so hard to 'own' this movement. Because the events that are big aren't made so because they are 'official' or because they are called by a big group - it's simply that they fit the 'herd' desire for action and thus build huge momentum.

I think it's going to be a big day, but the police are going to be all over Parliament. If the bill passes I think there's going to be a fuck. off. riot.

flaneur
Dec 1 2010 23:17

List of actions for the UKuncut event for this Saturday, the 4th.

Quote:
Birmingham, Sat 4th Dec 2010

Meet 13:00, trade union stalls, near the Bull, Bullring, New Street

Edinburgh, Sat 4th Dec 2010

protest at Princes Street Topshop from 11am

Leeds, Sat 4th Dec 2010

Meet at 12pm in front of Topshop on Briggate

Liverpool, Sat 4th Dec 2010

As before, meet under the big screen at 11am – ready for action!

London, Sat 4th Dec 2010

Be inside Topshop, ready for action, by 11am on Saturday morning. At precisely 11.02am, we will take action right in the very heart of Philip Green’s Arcadia empire.

Manchester, Sat 4th Dec 2010

Meet at Piccadilly Gardens at the Fountains at 3pm for a moving demo with music

Xmas theme – bring appropriate costumes!

Nottingham, Sat 4th Dec 2010

Notts Save Our Services will be calling on corporations to pay their tax on Saturday 4 December. We meet at 1pm outside Vodafone on Clumber Street and will visit a few other tax avoiders after that.

Reading, Sat 4th Dec 2010

Meet @ 11am in the big cafe by the escalators in Broad St Mall.

mons
Dec 1 2010 23:36

In response to Keith Mitchell, head of oxfordshire's county council, calling school student occupiers 'oiks', 'ugly', and a 'scruffy rabble', an angry protest was called about an hour ago, for tomorrow, already has over 50 attending on facebook.
I was reading some of his blog, and he is really a caricature:

Quote:
given that there were similar example of lawlessness across the country, what is driving this national outbreak of unlawful behaviour? I suspect the hard left are working up a campaign to make such lawlessness appear to be the norm and therefore to become acceptable. I wonder ho many of our teachers in Oxfordshire are working for this hard left agenda? One day we may know!